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Vancouver 2010 Canadian Womens Hockey Team

February 26th, 2010 @ 3:14pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

This afternoon’s press conference with the Canadian womens hockey team regarding their gold medal win last night was heavily focused on two topics: the way the women celebrated last night and the future of their sport in the Olympics.

Members of the Canadian Womens Hockey Team

The Future of Womens Hockey
IOC President Jacques Rogge commented on the unlevel playing field in womens hockey and that blowouts (I’m assuming like the 18-0 Canadian win over Slovakia) are not conducive to fair Olympic play.

At the press conference the ladies addressed this, noting that when men’s hockey started out it was Canada and the Soviets that dominated but that the rest of the world caught up. Switzerland is now a contender, Sweden and Finland consistently place well and even cause a few upsets. Women’s hockey is still growing and with expanded European and international play, Marie-Philip Poulin said that it can only get more tough to compete.

Poulin & Ouelette at the press conference

The Celebration
It was reported that after the public left Canada Hockey Place the celebrations from the locker room spilled onto the ice. Caroline Ouelette told the press that the team has celebrated in that fashion after the last three Olympics. They pose for photos with logos on the ice and they all bask in their Olympic moment.

The issue is that the team did so on the ice and did not keep their champagne and beer drinking confined to the locker room. One reporter asked, “what kind of role models are you then?” The ladies replied tactfully that they waited until all public had left, they did not mean to disrespect anyone, and they have apologized. However, it was also noted that some underage players were seen with beer cans in hand.

With gold medals gleaming around their necks, these women gracefully responded to each question with poise and confidence. I’d love to hear how parents and public view this celebration.

Was the gold medal celebration of the Canadian womens hockey team appropriate?

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35 comments

  1. This is all blown way out of proportion. What kind of role models are they? They are fantastic role models to our youth! So they sipped a few beers on the ice, after the crowd had left…big deal. Oh no! There were 18 year olds out there! Guess what in Alberta, that’s legal age. Who cares.

    Well deseverved celebration ladies, you have nothing to apologize for and Canada is proud of you.

  2. Natalie says:

    I don’t see a problem at all – good on them! Where was the media uproar when Montgomery was walking through Whistler Village with a pitcher of beer in his hand?

  3. Severe double standard here. Watch a world series victory, or perhaps a stanley cup victory, what do you see? That’s right, men pounding beers and spraying each other with champagne. How about the winner of a motor sports race? Pretty sure the champagne shower is standard.

    Now… a few women are called back onto the ice from their private locker room celebration to take pictures. A number of them have beers in hand. No one is black out drunk, no one is acting any worse then those of us have on Robson Street much of the last 17 days. What happens to them? Crucifixion via media.

    I’m by no means a bleeding heart. Often I am considered a bit of an ‘old school’ sort of guy in my lack of political correctness, but this sort of double standard pisses even me off. These women worked their asses off, they are allowed to celebrate like champions just as much as the men are allowed to celebrate like champions. Everyone pissed about this needs to get over it and realize there are bigger fish to fry in this world.

  4. robert says:

    Our Canadian Women won the gold on home ice, they won that medal, they won that ice, it was theirs to celebrate on! Who among us would have felt any different?

    Regarding uneven success of Womens hockey; who was complaining when the Soviets were dominating gymnastics, or the Americans Basketball or any of 100 other examples.

    Isn’t the evolution of sport to be better, stronger, faster? We want to raise the bar not to lower it and raising takes leaders in the field.

  5. Jeremy says:

    I voted other. I think obviously the girls worked hard and are going to party. we all would.

    They shouldn’t have spilled ut onto the ice. Not cuz I think its wrong (personally I think its awesome) but you just need to be aware in this modern cry baby world, that some people are going to pissed off. Coach should have said, “Hey Ladies! off the ice!… shooters in the dressing room… oh hey media guy, you’re not allowed in this team only party…”

  6. Hez says:

    Vancouver’s poet laureate Brad Cran said it best.

    Also, don’t tell the Russian and Swiss women I watched battling to a shootout like champs for 5th & 6th place that their level of competition wasn’t high enough. Those ladies were an inspiration to everybody watching, especially all the little girls in Team Canada jerseys in the audience.

  7. Carrie says:

    It’s not as if Men’s Hockey doesn’t have some uneven victories (USA over Finland 6-1 with most of those goals in the FIRST period!!) so get off this whole “uneven playing field” crap Rogge. Stupid male chauvanistic ass.

    As to the celebrations, the public was gone. They are the home team celebrating on home ice. Yes, it’s not good that there was underage drinking BUT it’s not like it was a whole TEAM of underage drinkers. There are older mature women there who are probably more than capable of monitoring a little beer consumption

  8. Hub says:

    Let’s comment about athletes promoting an official sponsor of the olympics that sells junk food… mmmmm. Maybe the IOC should STFU and clean up their side before trying to be uptight like they are.

    And to supplement what has been said, 18 is legal for drinking in QC which is the province of origin of the person being pointed at.

  9. I couldn’t agree more with the first commentator. go canada go!!

  10. Jeff Ciecko says:

    They said these were the social media games and after fans come close to being strip searched to get into the venues some reporter or fan who shouldn’t have been in CHP took some photos he or she shouldn’t have taken! Blame the photographer for the overblown non-story this has become.

  11. Kim Rathbone says:

    I don’t think it’s a big deal. Not because they won gold (although that is, of course, a big part of it). What needs to be remembered is that they waited until there were NO fans there. They weren’t doing it in public, they weren’t rude or smug or mocking. Hockey players wanted to celebrate on the ICE. What’s wrong with that?

  12. Janine says:

    I am a Mom of 2 boys ages 5 & 9. I played many sports in my youth and encourage my children to enjoy athletics. Playing a team sport helps you to stay physically fit, mentally engaged and socially involved. Celebrating a win is an extremely important thing to do; it feels good! The ‘socially involved’ aspect is just as important as everything else. I am still close to my team mates from 30 years ago and that comes from working hard on the field and having fun afterwards.
    These women did nothing wrong, in fact they celebrated responsibly, with utter joy and pride and obvious humour. They demonstrated how to have fun after a hard fought win. I think that is a great thing and do not see how their behaviour could be construed in any other way.
    As a parent I believe it is important to teach my children about working hard, having goals and how to enjoy success. These women are certainly wonderful examples for me to use!
    With respect to Poulin being underage: She’s from Quebec where the legal drinking age is 18, she trains in Alberta where the legal drinking age is 18 and she is 19 in March. Is it reasonable to say to her “oh you may have just won Gold, scored 2 goals for your team and everyone else is celebrating with beer and Champagne but you can’t!” Seriously.
    GO ? ? ? GO

  13. Rob J says:

    The role model comment from the reporter slays me. A group of superlative athletes who happen to be women win a gold medal in a sport that has historically been an all-male sport. Somehow, drinking a beer undoes all of that and brings their status as natitonal role models for younger kids into question?

    I’d consider that to be the height of Puritanical nonsense if it were honest. But, it’s not honest. It’s manufactured controversy.

  14. Mark says:

    If the media can go under a lie detector test and tell me that they never drank underage, sure, they can go and slam the team, but honestly. GROW UP. High school kids drink in this province. Ladies are in the right here, this is a non-story.

  15. ThompsonPaul says:

    Here’s my take: if anybody should be pilloried for this “inappropriate” celebration, it should be whichever media douchebags decided to publicize it.

    The team was having a private celebration. They took the appropriate steps to keep it private by waiting until the public had left the building before returning to the ice for some personal commemorative photos. Best case scenario, they should have been even more stringent about ensuring the media were out of the building. But come on… there’s nothing sacred about the ice surface.

    Had they done this while the public was still in the building, they’d deserve to have their asses chewed for it (as should any athletes who did such a thing – sorry, there ARE reasonable expectations of behaviour during official portions of Olympic events.)

    But to imply they’re lesser role models because they celebrated with **gasp** alcohol? Get a grip. They’d be freaks in any country in the world if they didn’t!

    The only question for me is the “where” not the “what”. The fact they made every effort to not to shove it in the public’s face is good enough for me.

    Bad judgment to let the media anywhere near them, but nothing wrong with what they did.

    Although for all those claiming “drinking age is legal where a player is from or where she trains… DUH. You’re governed by the laws where you ARE, not where you’re FROM. That’s just a stupid justification that weakens your other arguments.

  16. Darren says:

    It’s unfortunate that the ideas of sexism and competitive play have become intertwined in this discussion. Let’s separate the two, and imagine the following scenario. Let’s pretend that snowball fights are an Olympic event:

    For four Olympic Games in a row, you know with near certainty that the US and Canada Snowball Fighting teams will meet in the final. They’ve met in three of four gold-medal games. They have almost never lost to any other team in the tournament (Canada never has, the US has a couple of times), and they’ve outplayed all other opponents by a considerable margin. The final is exciting–every snowball fight up to that point is pretty much a foregone conclusion.

    It’s a sure bet that at the Snowball Fighting finals in 2014, it’ll be USA and Canada again.

    The mistake the IOC made was permitting women’s hockey to join when they did. I guess they figured that other nations would catch up to the US and Canadian women, but that simply hasn’t happened.

    I don’t know what the right decision is, but if you’re a fan of parity and unpredictability, you’re not a fan of having women’s hockey in the Olympics.

  17. I checked the roster. There is EXACTLY ONE player under the BC legal drinking age of 19, and that one player turns 19 exactly one month and two days after the celebration. (Also, I don’t know if she was drinking or not.) So there were not PLAYERS drinking underage, there was MAYBE ONE player drinking underage.

  18. Adam Weitner says:

    I don’t really think it’s a sexism or double standard issue. It’s the US media that took this to the IOC and the world and made it a big deal.

    Why, you ask, would they do such a thing? Because they can’t stand the thought of losing to us ‘lowly’ Canadians. What with our igloos for homes and polar bears for transport, and everything.

  19. Matthew says:

    Who cares if it was in the dressing room or on the ice. This is the Stanley Cup and The Olympic Gold wrapped up into one for these women. This has been blown out of proportion and put under a microscope at the same time. When sports teams win divisional playoff series they celebrate with booze and acting like fools if they want to. I don’t think these women acted foolishly at all, I think they acted like ecstatic champions and people should get a life. If you don’t like how people celebrate, then don’t turn on your tv, your computer or go to the event. I commend all our athletes on having been themselves and not being overly reserved. Dance the night away, all of you!

  20. Let’s see. Of all the people in the whole world who might want a beer and a cigar, who would be most appropriate? How about someone who just won a freaking Olympic gold medal? Both the women’s team and Jon Montgomery were elated and had some drinks in public or semi-public. Good for them. Anyone ticked about it can lighten up.

    Rogge may be speculating, but the IOC already looks like a bunch of ogres for denying women’s ski jumping at these games. Removing what is now a well established event in women’s hockey would look even worse. Besides, what better motivation is there for other countries to improve their programs than having Olympic medals as a possibility? Not to mention that women’s hockey much better preserves the amateur history of the Olympics.

    No matter what, the IOC look like villains here, which is nothing new.

  21. Darren says:

    @Derek I agree that the writing is on the wall. It’s not cool to permit an event for four Games, and then remove it. However, the motivation argument is a little specious, as it could be applied to any sport–no matter how niche or regionally lopsided–as a reason for including it in the Olympics.

  22. Jason says:

    Non issue for me although I will say that in hindsight it probably would have been better if the players had kept the alcohol in the dressing room.

    Beyond that, who cares?

  23. Mike says:

    In my opinion, the pictures just made them look bad, but that’s the media for you.

    My real problem is the blowouts that happen. Is it really necessary to pound your opponent 18-0? How will other women feel, participating in a sport with humiliating defeat? People like to see a show, not a blowout. Being greedy for goals and stats might just jeporadize the existance of the sport in the Olympics.

    The fact that our Canadians and other stronger teams did not relent and created lopsided victories such as 18-0 bothers me more than the on ice beer drinking and cigar smoking.

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  25. Rob Morton says:

    Utterly provincial response from the IOC. A normal human response to a well deserved victory. Next time you want to enjoy a cigar ladies, give me a call. I’ll supply the cubans.

  26. Darren says:

    @Mike This is a common complaint leveled at international tournaments of all sorts–it’s not unique to hockey. I agree that it appears to be unsporting to run up the score.

    In case you don’t know, here’s why teams do it: the number of goals you score (your ‘goals for’) is usually the tiebreaker statistics when you have the same number of points as another team. This is obviously hugely important if that tiebreaker determines, say, who goes to the next round. It may lesser importance, too, in determining who gets home field advantage.

    Also, from a sports psychology perspective, the thinking is that if a team ‘goes easy’ on a lesser team, they risk carrying that behaviour into the subsequent games against tougher opponents. As coaches say, “you have to play your own game, not your opponents”. As such, ‘taking your foot off the gas’ can be risky.

  27. Mike says:

    @Darren. I agree with you, but how are the men able to take it “easy” or “take their foot off the gas”. The US scored 6 goals in the 1st period and “took it easy” for the next 2 periods. A strong win, but not demoralizing to their opponent and their fans.

    Would you support a 50-0 score against a weaker opponent just because you can run up the score?

    I agree somewhat that the scoring system has something to do with it. The IOC should change that rule to make sure the sport at least appears to be more competitive.

  28. Gideon says:

    Could it be that the only reason the IOC didn’t like what they did is because the beer they were drinking was not an official sponsor of the Vancouver 2010?

  29. [...] it happens, I’ve summarized both arguments in the comments on this post by Rebecca. I thought I’d reproduce them here, with some minor [...]

  30. DJR says:

    Two points:

    First, I personally have no problem whatsoever with the team returning to the ice to celebrate but I think it demonstrates a severe lack of leadership on behalf of the coaching staff and experienced players to not recognize that this would generate negative press. These are high profile athletes (in this country anyway) and are held to a different standard. It’s extra naive to think that no one would pounce on the underage drinking thing. Of course, celebrate and spray beer / champagne all over one another, but stick to the convention established over decades of championship sport – keep it in the dressing room.

    Second, I think one point has gone unaddressed here with respect to the disparity between the top 2 teams and everyone else. Yes, other countries are developing their talent. They’re much better now than they were a decade ago. The problem is that the US and Canada are still developing faster than the other nations. The gap between the skill level of the top two team and even the 3rd / 4th teams is getting wider, not narrower. Let’s not delude ourselves into thinking that giving the sport another 10 years at its current trajectory is going move it towards parity. Significantly larger efforts at promoting women’s hockey in Sweden, Finland, China, and Russia will be necessary before they even have a hope of competing on a regular basis with Canada or the USA.

  31. tdc says:

    Poulin is from Quebec where the drinking age is 18, non?

  32. Ed Lau says:

    They won GOLD, people. That’s something only a handful of people have ever done. As far as I’m concerned, they have free reign to do whatever they want. They could’ve stolen some police cars, joyriding up and down Robson Street mooning onlookers and I would’ve been fine with it.

    So they broke out some beers and cigars, took some pictures and tried to drive the zamboni. Who among us wouldn’t after winning Olympic gold? Only silly prudes would think such a celebration is inappropriate.

    I’ll tell you right now…if it was me, there would be much more debauchery involved.

  33. Roshan says:

    Making a mountain out of a molehill. Unnecessarily blowing it out of proportion and trying to dampen the spirits of a winning team.

  34. Blair Smith says:

    I was hoping the men’s team would do the same!

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